Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Benjamin Foster born 1726 in Greenland, New Hampshire was my 5th great grandfather.  His parents were Benjamin Foster and Wilmot Griffin.  He first married, Abigail Milliken in 1747 and after Abigail died he then married Elizabeth Scott in 1750.  My family line is descended from the Elizabeth Scott marriage.


Benjamin Foster was a soldier in the French and Indian wars under General Abercrombie but he was most known for his service in the Revolutionary War.


Benjamin Foster lived with his wife Elizabeth and 7 children in Machias, Maine most of his life.


The name Machias is believed to derive from a Passamaquoddy word meaning "bad run of water" or "bad little falls", either of which does describe the difficulty of canoeing some of the rapids in the river. The river was used as a seasonal migration route by Indians.   The first European settlement is believed to have been an English trading post in 1633, almost immediately destroyed by the French. The first permanent settlement in the area in 1763 was intended to be a site for the production of lumber, with 1.6 million board feet produced in 1764. The river mouth and offshore waters were the scene of the Battle of Machias — the first naval battle of the American Revolution, occasioned by the British need for lumber for Boston. Lumber remained a main industry along the river, with the river powering the saw mills. Production was as high as 40 million feet in a year, but declined in the late 19th century to between 10 and 20 million feet per year (with a similar amount of lath also produced). The woods cut were originally pine, and later also hemlock and spruce.


Benjamin Foster was one of the  leaders in planning and organizing the expedition which captured the British war vessel, the “Margaretta”, at Machias, Maine, June 11, 1775.


In June 1775 the “Margaretta” a British armed schooner under the command of Lt. Moor, sailed up the Machias River to the town of Machias, Maine.  Its mission was to obtain lumber for the British barracks in Boston.  The citizens of Machias already aware of the battles of Concord and Lexington, fought earlier that year were very angered by the demand of the British officer.  They gathered by a brook in a meadow outside of town to decide what to do.  After much discussion, one of the leaders of the group, Benjamin Foster, leapt across the brook and called all those who would oppose the British to follow him.  One by one they did, thus committing themselves and their town to the Revolution.  On this spot, known today as Foster’s Rubicon, stands a marker erected by the DAR.


The British officer, Lt. Moor, aware of the hostility of the citizens of Machias, hastily sailed the “Margaretta” down the Machias River.  The next morning some of the patriots of the town including Benjamin Foster, followed in a small sloop the “Unity” and captured the British ship.  This was the first naval engagement of the Revolutionary war.


Benjamin Foster continued as a leader in his community, becoming a Colonel in 1776.  He was militia commander-in-chief for the Eastern District of Lincoln County during the Revolution.  George Washington presented him with a sword in gratitude for his leadership and courage.





Drisko, George Washington (1904). Narrative of the Town of Machias, the Old and the New, the Early and Late. Press of the Republican. OCLC 6479739


Leamon, James S (1995). Revolution Downeast: The War for American Independence in Maine. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 978-0-87023-959-5.


Volo, James M (2008). Blue Water Patriots: The American Revolution Afloat. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-6120-5. OCLC 209652239

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